Saturday, December 13, 2008
Sitting by a crackling fire after an ice storm is a true luxury. Another is knowing a fine artist like Russell French, whose show of photographs at Rabelais is a stellar example of the richness of Maine's rural traditions. Russ was party to a pair of sheep round-ups, in the fall of 2007 and the spring of 2008, that took place on an unnamed island. With indelible shots, Russ documented this venture, in league with Sam Hayward, renowned chef/owner of Fore Street in Portland. Their efforts led to an article in The Art of Eating, and paid homage to the hard working Maine farmer, notably the Straw Family Farm. Go see the show; it hangs in the midst of a serene shop devoted to books on food, wine, and the arts. One sees in these photographs a reverence for the Maine environment, the hearty folks who work in it, and for sheep, those strange creatures with benign expression and ageless demeanor.
I would have loved to have been there, drawing sheep. I remember being on a school field trip to Long Island once, and a sheep showed up outside the entrance, as we gathered the children for the walk back to the ferry. Sheep are implacable animals, not easy to know. I had an opportunity to draw sheep for a book about knitting, "Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off".
How did they get their reputation for being ninnys? Their flock nature?
I drew numerous animals, all sources of fiber fun.
In this case, too much fun. This drawing was about the knitting "bomb", that effort that just never comes out right.
This one didn't get used. Too negative. Huh? I think it's a riot. Don't you?
This one made it. Something about the happy knitter, the type that doesn't let patterns or purls keep her from having a good time.
Since I don't knit, all I can do is put another log on the fire, and be grateful for talented friends, farmers, and sheep with fuzzy thoughts.